Happy 1 month Isobel!
I thought one month in would be a good time to update on how things have been going and share my top tips for anyone else who will soon have a baby mainly around breastfeeding, nappies and exercise post baby.
First of all, this month has been way easier than either me or Andres had expected. Everyone kept telling us you just have to survive the first few weeks, stock up on food as you won’t have time to cook and just sleep when the baby sleeps! Now, I get that for some people and babies, this is very true. For us, maybe we just have a really chill baby, but we have been absolutely fine. We have had time to cook, go to the shop, work out, study for my yoga course, do washing and everything else we needed to do. Sleep wise, she only wakes up twice during the night. In between these, I still get my 7 hours of sleep and Andres doesn’t feel too tired for work the next day. I think I have had maybe two daytime naps in total during this entire month and that’s it, I just haven’t needed more! Obviously, this is very different for everyone so I’m not saying everyone can do all of this, just that this is how it was for us. Also I do need to mention I go to bed quite early (9.30-10ish) so it’s not like I’m super human or anything!
My little baby Isobel really is the most amazing baby (biased as hell obviously) and we love her so much! The amount of times we just stare at her in amazement or laugh at the funny noises she makes (a mixture of really sweet sounds and those of a drunken sailor!). I just can’t believe she’s ours and that she is so perfect! I am so happy that I get to be her mother and I am absolutely loving my mum role and this new life so far. I have taken to motherhood way better than I had imagined I would and I feel like between Andres and I, we got this in the bag at least for now (I’m sure there are loads of challenges ahead still to come!).
This has gone over and beyond what I had expected. I credit a lot of this to the extra help I got at the hospital before we took Isobel home. The first two days were a bit more challenging as she kept falling asleep any time she went near the boob but after that we both took to it like champions! I had maybe one or two days of sore nipples but just kept applying coconut oil and it went away and have been fine since. So top tip number one, coconut oil on your boobs and nipples throughout pregnancy and while breastfeeding to avoid them getting dry and more likely to crack.
So obviously breastfeeding isn’t for everyone/doesn’t work out for everyone and let’s just be clear, baby being fed is what matters, not how. That being said, I really wanted to breastfeed so I’m very happy it’s worked. As I feed on demand, sometimes when she is cluster feeding, it does mean I’m here on the sofa for several hours feeding her. Sometimes it means interrupting whatever else I’m doing such as my yoga practice, cooking etc. and a few times I have had my moments of resentment when this happens. I then have to remind myself she’s just a baby, she’s hungry (even though she just ate 15 min ago!) and her needs come before mine and then I feel guilty for ever getting annoyed with her. This hasn’t happened much though and for the most part I really enjoy the whole nursing experience. You just have to feed the baby and just accept that what you were doing can wait until after. Some top tips I would suggest for making breastfeeding work a it better with life:
- learn to feed standing up using one hand/arm only
- learn to eat with your non dominant hand
- to keep your hot beverages hot, invest in a one handed operation thermos mug such as this one. The amount of left over teas/coffees I left around the house before I got this!
- plan ahead. I know she likes to eat during breakfast time so I plan ahead and make overnight oats the night before that I can just take out of the fridge and eat onehandedly if she wants to feed. All I then have to do in the morning is quickly make my coffee rather than have to faff with making breakfast from scratch.
- be ok with feeding wherever you need to or you will forever be stuck at home. This took me a few days of stressing about beforehand but now I just do it anywhere. Baby wants food, I will feed baby and I won’t care if someone is offended by a boob.
Cloth/reusable nappies and cloth wipes
Drum roll please, neither me or Andres have used a single disposable nappy yet! Cloth nappies for the win! From the very first one in the hospital to now, we have stuck with my plan of cloth nappies and it’s worked out great! They are easy to use and I haven’t found the washing and drying process much work at all. I have changed at home, at friends and out in restaurants/cafes without problems. We are using the old-fashioned tactic or just a muslin folded with a water proof cover on top. The only issue is that it makes her bum a bit bulky but that doesn’t bother me. We are also using cloth wipes which we spray with a mixture of water, baby soap and liquid coconut oil which has also worked a charm. These don’t even need drying, just use straight out of the washing machine so even less work! Nothing wrong with people choosing disposables, we all do what we need to do. I just felt strongly I wanted to do this and especially when people told me it would be too much work, I just dug my stubborn heels in and really wanted to show it can be done. Anyone who is considering cloth, let me know as I did a massive amount of research beforehand and now have insight from having used it for a month.
Day two back from the hospital, we started going on walks. Really slow and short to start with which got longer and quicker with time. From when Andres went back to work at week 3, we had a routine going where we went for a walk every morning without fail. I think this makes a massive difference. We get some fresh air both of us, I get some vitamin D and some exercise and if the rest of the day turns into a feeding frenzy, at least I got out of the house! I’m also planning on downloading some Spanish lessons and learn as I walk so that Isobel and her dad can’t plot against me as she gets older!
I also started back on the yoga fairly soon after we got back. Again, at first I took it slow and steady but I’m now pretty much back on my usual practice and starting to feel quite strong again! Having worked out during my pregnancy certainly helped with this.
Last week I started incorporating some strength training back again as well which felt great! For me, it is a priority to get fit post baby so this is something I make time for in the day. This is not about getting my pre-pregnancy body back though. This body grew and delivered a baby, why would I want the old one back? This one will be even better and I will enjoy the journey there rather than beating myself up about the little pouch I still see on my belly today.
Anyone after pregnancy who wants to get back to exercise, the most important advice I have is listen to your own body. I have done this throughout by easing myself into everything and testing it out slowly and carefully rather than jumping back in. I do have a good body awareness and I know what my body can or can’t do and I listen to this. This isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon and I have no desire to get injured due to ego. Next on the list is getting back on the pole post baby. Slightly terrified I will have gone back to square one but if I have, I just have to deal and work my way back!
Bring on the next few months!